I’ve read many wonderful books this year and would usually write about them on my other tumblr, but I fell away from that. To make up for it, I decided to list some* of what I’ve read the past six months (how are we at the halfway mark already????). A few of these will get longer reviews later on since they deserve more than blurbs, but I wanted to get some recs on here.
As many have said, YA is really coming up big lately. I’ll save you my ramblings on that (for now). But there’s a fair amount of genre mixing going on YA fiction that’s appealing. So I’ve ended up reading quite a few books labeled “Young Adult” that really feel like they’re for any age. Anyway…
* excluded series and books I didn’t enjoy as much. Will write about series in another post.
- Just Kids by Patti Smith
I love music, but didn’t know much about Patti Smith before reading this. She’s a poet so naturally this was beautifully written, unlike some other celebrity memoirs.
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
I kept putting this off afraid I might hate it, but finally decided to conquer it and loved it. Gaiman writes wonderfully bizarre books. Here’s to hoping the miniseries is good!
- We Are Pirates by Daniel Handler
Another writer of wonderfully bizarre books. It seems this book got a lot of horrible ratings so I may be in the small percentage that really enjoyed it. The premise is a 14 year old girl puts together a band of “pirates” to terrorize the San Francisco Bay in the 21st century. However, you meet Gwen way before this happens so you understand a little more about her. I think people expected more pirates.
- I Was Here by Gayle Forman
This might be Forman’s weakest book, but it still managed to pull at my heartstrings. The romance aspect was a bit awkward, but she depicted the grief of losing a friend well.
- Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
This won a lot of awards so you don’t need to listen to me. More important people have spoken. This doesn’t even take long to read so you have no excuses. It’s a beautiful and powerful book.
- When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro
To many this is considered Ishiguro’s worst book. Ishiguro doesn’t really feel it worked either. But even Ishiguro’s worst is pretty good.
- Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee
This is such a lovely friendship story. In 1849, Samantha, a Chinese American girl who just lost her father, and Annamae, an escaped slave, team up to head West. In an effort to not garner attention, they pretend to be boys. It has a lot to say about racism and sexism and is generally amazing.
- Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed
This is a STRESSFUL read about a teenager forced into marriage. A complete page turner about an important issue.
- My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
I rarely ever cry over books but this one made me tear up. Books about depression/suicide are hard to get right, but Warga did a good job with this one.
- Bone Gap by Laura Ruby
I went into this book blind and wow what a surprise. It’s dreamlike and gorgeous. The atmosphere this book creates is what gets you. I recommend going into this blind as well. Just do it. Just pick it up. Not many books get to be called captivating but I am calling this one captivating.
- The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Ballerinas and a juvenile detention center and maybe something supernatural happening? There are two separate stories going on in this book: one of a ballerina, Violet, on the way to her dreams and one of a prisoner, Amber, living out her sentence. What keeps you reading: learning about these two characters and how their stories fit together.
- Sula by Toni Morrison
I can’t say anything smart enough to do Toni Morrison justice. And I shouldn’t even need to have to tell you anything to convince you to read Toni Morrison.
- All the Rage by Courtney Summers
This is a book I want more teenagers to read. It’s a gut wrenching look at how harmful rape culture is. Summers captures Romy’s grief and struggles so well.
- Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
This is just a really cute story. It’s a simple story with likable characters, but sweet and uplifting.
- None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Before reading this, I knew very little about what being intersex meant. It’s something that is rarely taught about which is a problem and that problem is highlighted by how poorly the main character is treated once she finds out she’s intersex.
- Zeroboxer by Lee Fonda
Zero gravity boxing. ZERO GRAVITY BOXING. Isn’t that enough for you to read this? Okay, maybe not which is why I’ll write a full review on this one.
- Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
A brilliant graphic novel that lives up to the hype. Funny, heartwarming, unique, etc. etc.
- Made You Up by Francesca Zappia
I was unsure about this book and then it consumed me. Usually characters with schizophrenia get treated as a the villain or a plot twist, but the main character in this, Alex, is treated as a human being. I was made to care for her so deeply which made the story gravitating.
- The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
This is a sort of contemporary retelling of The Little Mermaid. I was afraid it was going to be really cheesy, but it ended up surprising me. Elyse is a fantastic heroine. And despite the misleading description, the love interest doesn’t actually play the “asshole but sort of caring but actually just an asshole” role that made me think I’d hate this. This isn’t a lighthearted romance book. It’s about Elyse and her search for peace after losing her voice in an accident more than anything else.
- Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy
I will probably never love anything by Hardy as much as Tess, but am always appreciative of his heroines. He doesn’t seem like he entirely gets women, but he does a great job at writing about how men can be terrible women. In this one he paints some strong villains and illustrates what many women still have to put up with today.